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€4 million to be spent giving 6,200 packs of sensory toys to crèches across the country

Minister Katherine Zappone has set aside €4 million for the project, which is being put out to tender.

The toy packs to be distributed to each childcare centre in the country is valued at €500.
The toy packs to be distributed to each childcare centre in the country is valued at €500.
Image: Shutterstock/antoniodiaz

FREE SENSORY TOYS are to be offered to every childcare centre in the country as part of a multimillion-euro plan to be announced by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone in the coming week.

More than 6,200 packs of toys will be distributed across the country, with €4 million being set aside for the project.

The move is being taken as part of the Access Inclusion Model launched last year to ensure children with disabilities, aged between three and four years old, can access free childcare.

Free toys 

The toys help develop audio, visual and tactile skills in children, with the minister stating that it is her intention that the toys will excite children and trigger their imaginations.

Ahead of the announcement, Zappone said:

Play is a hugely important part of growing up – and must be a part of every child’s life. I am very excited by our plan. It will not only benefit children but will also boost the confidence of a skilled and dedicated workforce to accept all children into their centres.
In addition to toys, there will also be special training on offer with the support of 80 experts.

The development of the toys has been put out to tender, but it is expected the packs will have a value of up to €500 each.

The minister said she hopes the toys will be distributed before the end of the year.

Rain3 Minister Katherine Zappone meets with children at a childcare centre. Source: Department of Children

“If we are to change our childcare system from one of the most expensive in the world into the best then access is key. As minister I am pleased with the progress we are making in the area of childcare. But, I am also keenly aware of the huge work still required to bring our services up to scratch,” said Zappone.

“Childcare will be a priority for me in forthcoming budget negotiations as we build further on the progress which has been made,” said the minister.

Read: Childcare payments may differ from county to county after creche fee audit>

Read: Five times more children sign up to childcare schemes aimed at less well-off families>

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